Job Searchers Thrive by Harnessing Relationship Resources
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Relationships definitely matter when laboratory professional students look for jobs after graduation. “Every person you speak to needs to know you are searching for a job,” said Catherine Stakenas, President of CPS Corporate Consultants, Inc., Chicago. “Tell your story, which is that you need a job.”
She recommends that laboratory professionals use their “relationship resources” and email every person they know about their job search consistently, for example, twice a month. Be sure to include a resume each time. The subject line of an email should make it clear: “I Am Asking for Your Help” in the student’s job search, according to Ms. Stakenas.
Mining relationships through social media networking is another powerful tool. On LinkedIn, laboratory professional students can create a profile and attach their resumes. Students should ask professional colleagues or instructors to provide recommendations on their LinkedIn profiles since potential employers look at LinkedIn profiles during the recruitment process.
Facebook and Twitter are other sources of letting people know about job searches. “It’s important to sell yourself and your ideas,” Ms. Stakenas said. “People want to help other people.”
Cultivating relationships are often the key to getting the job, while resumes are necessary for opening the doors to interviews. For most laboratory professional students, a one-page resume will briefly show educational background and work experience.
If students have already worked in relevant healthcare positions, they should begin with work followed by education. For other students without relevant career-related experience, education is their strong suit, according to Marian Ewell, MT(ASCP)SBB, Program Director of Clinical Laboratory Science Program at Oregon Health and Science University-Oregon Institute of Technology (OHSU–OIT), Portland, Ore.
She advises that students pay close attention to detail on resumes. For example, be sure the format is visually pleasing, check thoroughly and have others review the resume for misspellings and grammatical errors. “Conduct research on prospective employers and what different organizations are seeking,” said Ms. Ewell, who also serves as Chairman of the Department of Allied Health Partnership at OHSU–OIT. “Customize the skills summary in your resume and your cover letter for each prospective employer.”
She also advises laboratory professional students to think about professional references well in advance of their job searches. OHSU–OIT students perform 16-week clinical rotations as part of the bachelor’s degree program. Many of them receive job offers at their clinical externship sites.
“Students should view their clinical externships as extended job interviews,” Ms. Ewell said.
Developing Curriculum Vitae
Unlike other laboratory professionals, pathologists’ assistants develop curriculum vitae (CVs) instead of resumes for their hiring managers who will be pathologists. “CVs should be clean, professional, and easy-to-read,” said Cheryl Germain, MHS, (PA)ASCPCM, Program Director of the Pathologists’ Assistant Program at West Virginia University, Morgantown, W. Va. She recommends using a consistent format and using bullets for important points.
Ms. Germain suggests that pathologists’ assistants keep a specimen log during their clinical rotations to keep track of the number and complexity of specimens they have examined. Many students will see more than 10,000 specimens, which is very impressive to pathologists who view their CVs.
Remember a job search is a learning experience. The tools laboratory professional students use now will help them throughout their careers, especially the ongoing importance of cultivating relationships. ASCP has a robust online job center, including entry-level positions for graduating laboratory professional students. Go to www.ascp.org/careers for more information.